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An Investigative Approach to Science
What is an Investigation?
An investigation is one of the types of practical activity involved in learning. Investigating in primary science means carrying out a fair test to explore some of the children's own ideas on how the natural or man made world works.  An investigation is largely determined by the children with many possible routes and outcomes. The children have to make many decisions during the investigation. It is not totally predetermined by the teacher, although the teacher will manage the learning through the investigation.

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Investigations involve a number of interrelated intellectual and manual processes

See Investigation steps

Investigating is just one type of activity in science, albeit a very important one. The central feature of an investigation is that you always change something and measure the effect that it has on something else.

The use of an investigative approach to the teaching of science will help with the achievement of the 5 - 14 Environmental Studies Attainment Targets for Science:

  • Planning
  • Collecting Evidence
  • Recording and Presenting
  • Interpreting and Evaluating

Developing investigations will also allow the children to develop skills in Predicting.

Investigations will also allow the use of skills in Communication and Mathematical skills.

Investigation steps
What is it you are trying to find out?         What could you change? 
The things which could change are called variables.
Choosing what you will change, what you measure and what you keep the same.
Deciding how you will carry out the investigation i.e. what will you do?

Making a Prediction/ Hypothesis
Asking questions: Will changing this variable (independent variable) make a difference to the other (dependent) variable?
Collecting Evidence
Carrying out the experiment.
Noting, carefully, what happens.

Recording and Presenting
Making up a table of the results.
Drawing a bar chart or line graph of these results.
Write about what you did.

Interpreting and Evaluating
Are there any trends in the results?
Do the results tell you anything?
Was your prediction correct?
What can you conclude from this investigation?

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